Avisail Garcia did his thing. Matt Davidson did his thing.
And for a change, the White Sox got something from their starting pitcher.
Davidson hit a grand slam in the sixth inning, Garcia drove in two runs to bolster his all-star candidacy and the Sox beat Baltimore 6-1. Davidson’s slam was the first of his career and Garcia had a two-run double in the fourth for the Sox, who have taken the first two games of the series with the Orioles.
Entering Tuesday, Garcia was second in the American League with a .333 batting average and fourth with 46 runs batted in. In the sixth, the Sox got a scare when he was hit in the left elbow by an Alec Asher pitch but he stayed in the game.
“He was able to finish the game. It stung him pretty good. I think the back of the elbow, you feel it all the way down to your pinkie fingers,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He didn’t want to come out. I’m sure he’s going to feel sore. That’s not a good spot to be hit with. I commend him for getting through it.”
Derek Holland also managed to do the same, which was welcome news for the Sox.
The veteran left-hander went six innings and allowed one run and eight hits while striking out five for his first win since May 21. He became the first Sox pitcher since Miguel Gonzalez on June 3 to work at least six innings, and delivered their first quality start since Gonzalez’s on May 28.
“It’s huge. We’ve been working on this, obviously a little bit of a struggle. But the main thing is to bounce back,” Holland said. “The defense was out there making the plays. Hats off to Melky (Cabrera), unbelievable play out there. Big double plays when we needed them, made pitches when I needed to.”
Entering Tuesday, the Sox had gone 13 games without a quality start (the longest streak in team history since at least 1913) and the rotation had a 6.31 ERA over the last 20 games.
“He had some high leverage innings and then even in the sixth kept evolving and he wanted to finish that inning out,” Renteria said. “For him, he’s been around a while, he’s an experienced pitcher who’s had success in his career, he knew what he was going to try to do with that last out in the sixth and I thought he deserved to go ahead and do it and he did.”
As Renteria alluded to, Holland was in and out of trouble for much of the night.
Baltimore took a 1-0 lead in the first when Manny Machado’s single one-hopped the left-field wall, bringing in Joey Rickard. Machado was thrown out by Cabrera trying to stretch it into a double.
After that, Holland managed to keep Baltimore at bay. At one point he struck out four consecutive batters, and stranded a pair of runners in the third and fourth innings. He got out of the fifth when Mark Trumbo grounded into a 4-3 double play, as Sox second baseman Alen Hanson snagged the grounder, stepped on second and threw to first to end the inning.
Asher didn’t allow a hit for the first three innings but the Sox got to him in the fourth. Cabrera and Jose Abreu started the inning with singles before Garcia’s two-run double to the gap in left center gave the Sox the lead.
The Orioles had another chance in the sixth after Trey Mancini’s leadoff double but Holland again escaped without damage thanks to his defense. With one out, Cabrera leapt in front of the Sox bullpen in left to grab Welington Castillo’s drive and take away extra bases.
Davidson and the Sox didn’t miss their chance in the sixth against Asher.
Abreu singled, Garcia was hit by a pitch and Todd Frazier walked to load the bases for Davidson. With a full count, Davidson launched the first Sox grand slam of the season, and one with a 112.2 mph exit velocity that landed one or two rows from the outfield concourse behind the Sox bullpen in left.
“That one felt pretty good,” Davidson said. “I knew it when I hit it. You don’t really feel anything when you hit balls like that.”
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